Thursday, July 31, 2014

Lessons From The Mountain Top

As you stand atop a high mountain, what do you see? As far as the eye can see, there are deep ravines, cascading valleys, broad plains of beautiful wildflowers, flowing streams and rivers, and crystal clear lakes. All of these wondrous sights enable us to be in awe and wonder of our Creator who is worthy to be praised!

As great as a physical mountain top vista is, how much greater is a spiritual mountain top experience, when you are allowed to sense the presence of the Lord in a fresh new way!

I had such an experience this past week, as my husband and I attended a church conference that truly revived my spirit. In every conference session, worship service, and the many other events that I participated in, the Lord truly spoke to my heart. And incidentally, our conference was in an actual mountain setting!

On one afternoon at the conference, many of the women attended a session that was just for our ears only, called “Woman 2 Woman”. We heard from a pastor’s wife who shared from her heart about “people pleasing”. I believe that all of us as women probably struggle with that from time to time, but the “people pleasing” syndrome can really trip up those of us who are pastors’/ministers’ wives.

Being honest with ourselves, we all desire for those in our churches to like us and accept us. There is no such thing as a “perfect pastor’s wife”, therefore, we should stop trying to be one. There are some in our churches who expect us to be that way, and when we fail to meet peoples’ unrealistic expectations, we feel rejected, ostracized, and our feelings are greatly hurt.

Our sister shared with us some basic points that I thought are worth passing along to you as we attempt to gain freedom from the bondage of always trying to please others:

1. Minimize what others think of me.
What I learned: People will always have their opinions about what you should or should not be doing. Only those who are a part of your trusted inner circle, such as spouses, family, friends, mentors, etc. can be trusted to truly speak into your life because they love you and can genuinely give valuable encouragement and sometimes much needed constructive criticism.

2. Minimize what I think of myself.
What I learned: Many times your own opinion of yourself can be too high, thinking more of yourself than you should, causing arrogance and pride. Or your opinion can be too low, leaving you with feelings of worthlessness or self-pity. In order to have a balanced view of yourself, you must know who you are in Christ, it is only in Him that you know your true worth, remember He died for you because He loved you.

3. Maximize what God thinks of me!
What I learned: As you grow in Christ make it your primary goal in life to strive to find out what pleases the Lord. This is what we are commanded to do in 2 Corinthians 5:9 and Ephesians 5:10. If your ways are pleasing to Christ,isn’t that what truly matters?

These words of affirmation are just a snippet of the many things that I either learned afresh or was gently reminded of from the mountain top. Again, I thank God for all that He poured into my heart during that memorable week, and I am grateful to share this small sample with you.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Baby Dedication

Today, July 27th, we are taking a vacation day from our church to visit our daughter and son-in-law's church; First Baptist Church of Cleveland, Tennessee.  It is a special day because it is the day that Kinley Grace, our granddaughter, will be dedicated to the Lord by her mom and dad.
Cameron Lee was also dedicated to the Lord when he was about her age.

I call them babies because they are.  Kinley Grace will be 6 months old the 10th of August.  Cameron Lee will be 20 months old next Monday, the 28th.

We are experiencing more "Fruits of the Labor".  It is a joy to witness our children as adults, serving God.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Friday, July 25, 2014

35 Years Ago

August 3, 1979, I married my best friend.  Now, almost 35 years later, two children later, two children added by married later, two grandchildren later, seven homes later and tons of memories later................if I had it to do all over again, I would say "I do" in a heartbeat.
Happy early Anniversary, Roger.
(It is not my time to blog during our actual anniversary, so I am posting this early.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

10 Commandments

Remember, I teach the preschoolers at our church.  When they turn 2 years old they come to me and stay until the begin Kindergarten.

We did a study on the life of Moses, starting when him as a baby.  We got to the lesson about the 10 commandments a couple of weeks ago.  I decided, especially since the majority of my kids are 2 and 3 year olds, to spend a day on each commandment and try to teach them all ten.

The first Sunday, we talked about the 1st commandment:  One God.  Wednesday night, we talked about the 2nd commandment:  Don't worship idols.  Sunday we talked about the 3rd commandment: Don't use God's name in vain;  speak God's name with love. 

Okay, you get the ideal...........anyway, each time, we reviewed back over the previous, so we are building and hopefully at the end, they will be able to recite the simplified version of the 10 Commandments.

Sunday, one of my little girls (the one that asked me a few months ago what sin was.  She wanted to know if when you have to go to time out do you sin and if you have to go to bed without a story, are you sinning.  When I told her yes, her reply was, "well I sin a lot."  She is 3 years old. 

Anyway, Sunday, after reviewing and going over and over the first three commandments, little Aubrie asked me, "Are all of the rules gonna be like these?"  I asked her what she meant and she said, "Duh....they are simple; everyone knows that there is just one God and you can't talk bad about him and anything you put before him is an idol.  Duh.  It's simple."

First, I was excited that she at least was understanding them, as a three year old is capable of doing.  Second, I got to thinking.....she is very blessed because her parents care enough about her to be raising her in a Christian home and to take her to church and teach her about God.  So to her, is obvious that everyone should already know the RULES, as they call them.

No wonder God said to come to me as little children......they take everything so literal.

God Bless the Little Children.  If we would take the time, we could learn a lot by just sitting back and listening to them.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Mrs. Mahalia's Squash Relish

Below is Mrs. Mahalia's Squash Relish Recipe.  It is good with beans, with hotdogs, with grilled chicken, with pork fact it is good with just about anything.  Not only that, it is fairly easy to make.

Mrs. Mahalia's Squash Relish Recipe

6 medium yellow squash
4 large onions
4 bell peppers

Chop and mix with 2 tablespoons of salt for one hour.  (I use my food processor, but I am sure Mrs. Mahalia uses a more traditional method.)

Then drain and mix:
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons celery seeds
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons Turamic
Boil three minutes and can.

Mrs. Mahalia was 99 years old in December.  We visited her Sunday and she showed us the 28 quarts of beans that she has canned so far this year, as she was standing at the stove frying okra and onion, had green beans with new potatoes simmering and Mexican cornbread in the oven.  She said she would serve it with fresh onions, pepper and tomatoes. 

What a woman!!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Reaping the Fruits of Labor

One of my favorite parts of summer vacation, is the canning.  I LOVE to can.  There is just a certain amount of pride and accomplishment felt when you look at the fruits of your labor. 

My husband will plow up a spot for the garden; plant it and tend it, BUT....when the fruit starts bearing, it is my job to gather the garden and put it away for the winter.

One of the sweetest sounds is the sound of the POP when a jar seals.  I LOVE hearing it.

This year, God has really blessed us.  We do not have but a small garden spot, but because of the rain, we are still gathering those fresh veggies daily.  We have given many away.  We have shared with both of our children and my mom even brought some home with her.  AND....I have canned the rest or frozen it.

So far, I have canned green beans and tomatoes and made salsa and squash relish.  Our oldest church member, Mrs. Mahalia gave me a jar of her squash relish about 12 years ago and then shared her recipe with me.  That was my first time to eat it.  Over the years, our squash has not done very well, so I stashed the recipe away.  This year........we have squash everywhere, so I dug deep and found Mrs. Mahalia's old recipe and have made many jars of it to share with others.  (Several people have already asked me for her recipe.  It is quite simple and I will share it another day.)

Just like our garden, my husband and I are reaping the fruits of our labor at our church.  With that also comes a certain amount of pride and joy......not for what we have done, but for what God has done through us.  As I've blogged many times, this will be our 18th year at the church so we are reaping the joys of watching some of the young ones that have grown up and matured as adult leaders.  It is an awesome feeling.

I love reaping the fruits of labor.